SOURCE: Bellwether Report

Bellwether Report

June 22, 2010 08:28 ET

Consumer Goods Sector Forging Ahead

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwire - June 22, 2010) - -- The U.S. has been experiencing a judicious economic growth with grim forecasts from across the financial professional sphere that this slow-paced trend might endure throughout 2010. While there are numerous macroeconomic factors restraining a quicker economic recovery, one of the most weighing contribution comes from the jobless rate in the country. A consequent decline in the level of unemployment is not likely to be achieved any time soon. Job creation is looking increasingly challenging to produce or stimulate, and a turnaround can only be anticipated if first-time jobless claims fall under 425,000 per week. The latest jobless claims figures posted last week indicate that dismissal is still part of the current U.S. economic environment and has lead to more economic uncertainties according to economists. Then again, consumer confidence as measured by the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index in May has been indicating that consumers are still optimistic of a sustained economic recovery. The index saw another increase last month, making this the third successive monthly boost in consumer confidence.

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Additionally, some encouraging piece of data released at the end of last week from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that consumer spending has become easier for the consumers as the rate of change in the price of consumer goods fell by 0.2% in May. Some of the companies that have been doing well in recent months in the home furnishing and fixtures segment of the consumer goods sector are Leggett & Platt Incorporated (NYSE: LEG) and Furniture Brands International Inc. (NYSE: FBN). Leggett & Platt has been making its presence felt throughout the home furnishing and fixtures industry. The company has been seeing significant improvement in a vast majority of its business segments and has reported first quarter 2010 earnings per share of $0.27 excluding one-time items.

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Furniture Brands International, one of the U.S. largest wholesalers and retailers of home furniture, has also been showing some promising results in the first quarter with earnings topping close to $3.5 million. The resilience and insightfulness of its management team has been a key component which kept the company in good shape throughout the recessionary period and provided it with the stamina to thrive in a recovering economic environment. "This stock is worth following as it has all the ingredients for a potential takeover. Then again this is not the only attractive feature; Furniture Brand is a familiar American household name that is on the verge of taking the industry by storm," reported George Turner of Register now at to have free access to these reports.

Whilst the U.S. economy looks ahead towards a darkening horizon, with Europe's woes and China's cheaper exports pressuring fair competition, U.S. consumers try to maintain a certain level of hope. How long will this hope sustain will be answered by the next set of economic reports due at the end of June? 

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